by A/SLt (NL) Mathew Nepssy, TRG O, NLCC Assiniboine
“It’s not what I expected – in a really good way!”
Meet Daniel Nepssy, a highly energetic young man who has always walked to the beat of a different drummer. His Dad was in cadets when he was a boy, and always talked about how great it was. His older sister is in cadets (you met her in a previous article) and talked about how much fun she was having. He didn’t really want to join cadets at the time, but figured “why not” Yup! When I asked him what he wanted to share about his voyage so far with Kemptville’s Navy League Cadet Corps Assiniboine, the first thing he said was: he really didn’t want to be in cadets when he started out.
At 9 years of age when he joined, the discipline proved to be particularly challenging for him. It was only a small part of the evening routine, but learning to stand still for colours and sunset (the opening and closing ceremonies of a parade night), and learning to be precise in his movements for drill, proved difficult. Still, there was something there that he couldn’t put his finger on, so he stuck it out. He learned to iron his own uniform. He learned to polish his own boots. He learned to take pride in what it was to be a cadet, and share in the joys that came from being a part of a corps. He learned that he really did enjoy this after all!
Now in his third year, he looks back at the competitions and parades he has been a part of, the friends he has made, and the life skills he has developed, and he tells me he is happy that he stayed the course in those early days when he wasn’t sure if it was for him. His only regret is that he missed out on the opportunity to attend a week-long summer camp last year, due to the restrictions imposed for everyone’s health and safety – but he holds out hope for next year.
Still, he has learned that perseverance and dedication have their own rewards. This year, he has been learning communications skills online, like Morse code, semaphore, and some of the basic principles of marine radio, as he works towards earning his rank of Petty Officer 2nd class. Then he winks and shares that: “Who knows… with another year to go, maybe I can even make Chief Petty Officer”. Apparently, ambition is something he has picked up along the way.
Like the rest of the cadets in his corps, he has learned that you get back what you put into something. So long as he continues to apply himself, in cadets as in life, while he may (or may not) achieve his goal of becoming a Chief Petty Officer, he will most certainly be able to stand tall, shoulders back, head held high.